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Aki Kaurismäki Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (7)  | Trivia (18)  | Personal Quotes (20)

Overview (3)

Born in Orimattila, Finland
Birth NameAki Olavi Kaurismäki
Height 6' 4¾" (1.95 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Aki Kaurismäki did a wide variety of jobs including postman, dish-washer and film critic, before forming a production and distribution company, Villealfa (in homage to Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville (1965)) with his older brother Mika Kaurismäki, also a film-maker. Both Aki and Mika are prolific film-makers, and together have been responsible for one-fifth of the total output of the Finnish film industry since the early 1980s, though Aki's work has found more favour abroad. His films are very short (he says a film should never run longer than 90 minutes, and many of his films are nearer 70), eccentric parodies of various genres (road movies, film noir, rock musicals), populated by lugubrious hard-drinking Finns and set to eclectic soundtracks, typically based around '50s rock'n'roll.

In the 1990s he has made films in Britain (I Hired a Contract Killer (1990)) and France (La Vie de Bohème (1992)).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Spouse (1)

Paula Oinonen (? - present)

Trade Mark (7)

Frequently casts Matti Pellonpää
Frequently casts Kari Väänänen
Frequently casts Markku Peltola
Frequently casts Kati Outinen
Characters that speak very little and smoke a lot.
Most of the Finnish dialog in his films is hypercorrect literary language, which is rarely spoken in real life.
Frequently casts Elina Salo

Trivia (18)

Brother of Mika Kaurismäki.
His last name, Kaurismäki, means 'deer hill' (hill of the deer) in Finnish.
His father was a salesman.
Was turned down from a film school.
Although Laitakaupungin valot (2006) was chosen to be Finland's nominee at the The 78th Annual Academy Awards (2006), he decided to boycott the ceremony again and refused the nomination as a protest against the US foreign policy.
Studied media studies at the University of Helsinki.
Moved to Portugal to live there with his wife Paula Oinonen, a painter.
Although being nominated for The Man Without a Past (2002), he refused to attend the The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003), noting he didn't feel like partying in a nation that is currently in a state of war (2003).
Has been influenced by directors such as Jean-Pierre Melville and Robert Bresson.
Studied journalism at the University of Tampere.
His film Rikos ja rangaistus (1983) is based on Dostoyevsky's famous novel. Kaurismäki decided to make the film after he had read a book about Alfred Hitchcock written by François Truffaut where Hitchcock said he would never touch that book to make a film of it because it was too difficult. Kaurismäki admitted it was too difficult, but still the film was well received and now remains as a classic Finnish motion picture.
Is famous for saying in interviews that he has directed half of his films while sober and half when drunk, and yet nobody can tell them apart.
Kaurismäki has said that he will retire after directing 20 feature films.
When winning the Grand Prix price in Cannes for his film The Man Without a Past (2002), he first thanked himself and then the judges, then he walked off.
He has been influenced above all by Marcel Carné.
A fan of the french director Jean-Pierre Melville.
10.10.2015 Aleksis Kivi Society awarded him "Eskon puumerkki", which is annually given to persons, who have shown to have genuine Finnish obstinacy and self-will and with help of these attributes like Esko of Nummisuutarit (Heath Cobblers) has carved his signature into the chronicles.
Lives in Portugal since 1989.

Personal Quotes (20)

When I was young, I would sit in the bath and ideas would come to me. But I'm not young any more, so now I just sit in the bath.
Cinema is dead. It died 1962, I think it was in October!
I like dogs, mankind I don't care for too much. You're supposed to like mankind because you're part of it, but I prefer dogs. They are honest and they don't lie.
Maybe my films are not masterpieces, but they are documents of their time. That's enough for me. Masterpieces I can't do - even though I try.
The problem is, I have seen all the other films. All the serious films ever made I have seen, more or less. They are so good... and I am so bad. Very early in my so-called career, I knew I would never make a masterpiece. So I decided to make lots of decent films.
I have two methods. If I have a screenplay, I follow it. If I don't, I improvise. Nobody else improvises - not the cameraman or the actors. Just me.
When I write, I am sober. I can direct drunk. I can't edit or write drunk.
How can you write the dialogue for films about the middle class? They might have as hard mental troubles as anyone else, but the dialogue is impossible. It is easier to be a slave or to be a boss.
Coffee? I don't want coffee. To talk about my lousy films I need more than coffee.
I would like to explain the violence in this film. Because it makes me uncomfortable. The problem is this story had to start with violence. So I wanted to at least make it honest. Because if people want to see violence looking good, there is something wrong with their heads. So I make it look as it really is, fast and ugly. This is my rule and my explanation.
Hollywood has melted everyone's brains. In the old days you had one murder and that was enough for a story. Now you have to kill 300,000 people just to get the audience's attention. And in Helsinki the violence is not glamorous. It is nameless. There, someone hits you just because they are in a bad mood.
I must make clear that I didn't boycott the New York film festival. I like the New York film festival very much. I boycotted the US government. I was at the airport with my ticket in my hand and I heard Abbas wasn't being let in, and I thought, OK, if the US government doesn't want an Iranian film-maker then they won't want a Finn either. And I will not go where I am not wanted.
I think the more pessimistic I feel about life, the more optimistic the films should be.
I first get a title and then I write a script for the title.
I always decide to put a sad ending but then I feel pity for my characters and put at the last moment a happy ending.
I always start with everyday realism, everyday situations, and I try to go darker and darker and in the end, it's melodrama. Even the light has changed: in the beginning, the light is quite normal and in the end, there are big shadows.
[when told he must have been influenced by Robert Bresson] I want to make him seem like a director of epic action pictures.
[why he'll never shoot on digital formats] I am a film-maker, not a pixel-maker. [2018]
Of course, the working class is not such a sexy and commercial subject, I understand from the popcorn audience. But I couldn't write dialogue for upper-class people because I wouldn't know what they say. I don't know if they talk at all. Maybe they are just shopping. And selling and buying stocks. Stocks and stockings. I find rich people boring. [2018]
I never had very high hopes of humanity. I had hope 20 years ago, but not now. Greed will kill us - and maybe that's OK for the planet. Because it all goes back to money. Everything goes back to money. [2018]

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